Thursday, 26 August 2010

Affecting Albums - Eternally Yours - The Saints

(This is the first post in a series that I hope will develop into a list of all the albums that have gone into making my musical world. They will cover a pretty wide range of styles, and I hope that each post will describe a bit about the album, and why it has affected me enough to write about it.)

(Click on the song titles to have a listen to them on Spotify)

Eternally Yours (1978) was the second album released by the classic and, dare I write it, seminal Australian punk band The SaintsThe Saints' rejection to being pigeonholed, by developing a much fuller sound on Eternally Yours than the straight-ahead guitar-punk sensibility of their first album, I'm Stranded, ensured that they will be remembered as one of the great bands in Australian music. Ironically, it also ensured that they would never again live up to the popularity in punk circles that I'm Stranded had given them.

Lyrically the album is very strong, coursing with lead singer Chris Bailey's cynicism and anger at the world, fueled by his tough Brisbane upbringing.

The opening song, Know Your Product is perhaps THE best punk song ever recorded. From the classic and instantly recognizable opening brass riff, to the caustic anti-advertising lyrics, viz. the chorus below -

"Cheap advertising, you're lying
Never gonna give me what I want
I said smooth talking, brain washing
Ain't never gonna give me what I need"

It packs a punch that knocks you senseless.

What makes this the one of the best punk albums of all is the variety in the songs. Acoustic guitar, harmonica, and the brass section all help to lift it out of the punk ruck, but the fact that all the songs SWING is what makes it a truly great album. With all that, it never loses the hard sensibility that Bailey's lyrics bring to it, at their harshest in denigrating their own followers and the music scene in general in International Robots. It was this attitude, rejecting any sort of slavish following, which led to the punk movement turning on them, and after one more classic album Prehistoric Sounds, the original band split up, with Ed Kuepper going his own way to form The Laughing Clowns, while Bailey held on to the name, and The Saints began a metamorphosis into a very good indie band.

Songs such as A Minor Aversion and Untitled, acoustic, but with a hard driving edge, were before their time, predicting much that would happen in the independent music scene in the 80's and 90's

Rolling Stone Australia has Eternally Yours at number seven in their top 50 Australian albums - it's certainly in my top ten. You can check out Eternally Yours on iTunes, or Amazon.

Cheers for now, from
A View Over the Bell

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